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As the parent of a child who is severely impaired enough that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you are most likely already in an overwhelming amount of medical debt. Now that your child has been approved for SSI, you have to decide who to pay first, you have to figure out how you’re allowed to spend the money.
Until your disabled child turns 18, Social Security will put you in charge of managing their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. As the representative payee for your child, this is a big responsibility. If your child has a serious disability like cerebral palsy (CP), you’ll be facing a lot of expenses in the future. Unfortunately, medical costs are just one of many different types of expenses the parents of disabled children face.
The Cost of Disability
According to a North Carolina Cerebral Palsy Lawyer, with the right medical treatment and therapy, the quality of your child’s life can be improved. Everyone wants their child to have the best possible life, but if your child has CP, in order for that to happen, you may have to renovate your house and your car to improve accessibility for your child.
You were already worried about paying the doctor and the hospital. Now, you may also need to cover the costs of:
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapists
- Disabled access contractors
- Vehicle modification specialists
- Home caregivers
- Special education institutions
- Adaptive and assistive technology devices
Don’t worry, you will be permitted to use your child’s SSI payments to help pay for all of these things. Keep reading to learn more about how you are allowed to spend the funds.
Retroactive SSI Payments
Your child may be able to earn up to 12 months of back payments, depending on when their condition started and when you applied for SSI. The number of months you’ve been waiting for approval will also be subtracted from this amount.
The amount of your child’s retroactive payment may be significant. When this happens, parents or other representative payees are required to open a dedicated bank account that will ensure the funds only go to your child’s needs and care. There are very specific rules about how this money can be spent, and they are different than the rules regarding spending the regular SSI payment.
SSI Disability Payments
If your child qualified for SSI, they also qualify for Medicaid. However, there may be some costs that Medicaid doesn’t cover that you can pay with your child’s SSI. The following are some of the other expenses you’ll be able to use your child’s SSI to pay:
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Recreational therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Food for your child
- Clothing for your child
- Recreational activities
- Lessons or classes
- Your child’s share of the rent
- Your child’s share of the utilities
- Certain debts that are in your child’s best interest to pay
- Savings for your child
Yes, you read that right. You are allowed to put a portion of your child’s SSI payments into a savings account where it won’t count as an asset or resource to the Social Security Administration.
About ABLE Savings Accounts
This type of savings account was created specifically for disabled children by the 2014 Achieving a Better Life Experience Act. Anyone can create an ABLE account for a disabled child, and anyone can contribute to it.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else who cares about your child’s wellbeing can deposit money into an ABLE account, and the income that is earned by the account will not be taxed. Some states even allow contributors to take advantage of certain tax deductions.
If you want to read more about how you are allowed to use your child’s SSI payments, you can learn more about the specifics on the Social Security Administration’s website.